Norwich City proved the great entertainers over the Christmas period as they were involved in a number of high-scoring, end-to-end games.
Through it all, though, they’ve managed to keep their promotion hopes firmly intact and as we move into January they’ll be looking to motor on.
Up next, a massive game with West Brom in the Sky Bet Championship with both harbouring real chances of going up this season.
And, that said, we caught up with Richard Voisey from City of Yellows – as usual – to preview things from a Canaries perspective…
1. First of all, assess your Christmas period…
Up until Christmas, Norwich City had produced nine wins, two draws and only one defeat with the loss being an extremely unfortunate league cup away defeat to Bournemouth.
From Boxing Day the return has been only two draws and two defeats, the first loss arguably resultant from our first piece of bad luck for a long time. 3-2 in the lead against a competitive Derby with only eight minutes left, then a floodlight failure, a 25-minute break and finally losing 4-3 in injury time. As usual we still had two great chances to draw the game before the final whistle.
The recent defeat involved a cup exit, this time making eight changes, losing captain Grant Hanley to a red card, being the better team and losing 1-0 in injury time.
Anybody who leaves Carrow Road early this season is a fool! Two draws involved coming back from 3-0 down against Forest, as usual, levelling in extra time and a tough encounter with the wrongly placed Brentford made up the lukewarm Yuletide return. A real mixed bag of performances and incidents, the Canary induced coronary attacks must be at an all-season high already.
It has been noticeable that Farke’s post-match interviews are now less calm and non-committal with several mentions about poor decisions and bad luck, I wonder if the pressure is building?
2. A big game at West Brom this weekend, how do Norwich go about getting the points?
Daniel Farke, unlike last season, appears desperate to keep as settled a side as possible. We also appear to have the mindset to win every single game, recently one could argue it may have cost us points. The players have an instilled belief they will score one more than the opposition. City fans are concerned not just about West Brom but also big games against Birmingham, Sheffield Utd, Leeds and Ipswich, all coming up after Saturday.
The picture should be so much clearer after this batch of games on the 10th February as to the Premier League capabilities of Norwich City can be better assessed.
I expect City to play the same way on Saturday, attempt to keep the ball, move forward quickly and score more than the opposition.
3. A loss against Portsmouth last time out in the cup, but could fewer games prove a blessing in disguise?
I sit firmly in the ‘let’s win every game’ mentality. Success breeds success and winning can become a habit.
Having not won the cup game, City have now not won in four which is worrying. It is interesting that whilst Albion scraped a win against Wigan and Derby have a reply at Southampton, City are in the same position as Forest, Leeds and the Blades having been knocked out. I am convinced that a strong City lineup would have swept Pompey aside. Time will tell if it was a blessing, I don’t think it will make any difference.
4. Norwich have proven great value for goals at both ends in recent games. But how do the Yellows go about getting back to a tighter defence?
The defence has been a little unsettled recently with knocks to Timm Klose, the current absence of Jamal Lewis, Grant Hanley just returning after a long term injury and the sickness of Cristoph Zimmermann, the later has most definitely been playing whilst not 100% fit and it has cost us.
The collection of goals conceded can also be associated with the loss of the holding player and quick distributor in Moritz Leitner. When Mo is playing the defence benefits greatly as his passing puts pressure on the opposition and therefore relieves defensive duties for the team.
5. Score prediction
2-2 – another game with plenty of excitement with lots of twists and turns.